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ITALIAN CARD GAME

Published December 27, 2013 by Tony

SEVEN AND A HALF

 


“7 and 1/2” is a popular Italian card game that can be ranked among gambling games.
The game is played using Neapolitan cards (forty cards), but you also can use other regional Italian cards or even French cards (but in this case you should remove all the cards numbered 8, 9 and 10). Therefore, you must have four different suits for each value between ace and 7, plus the twelve figures (see the pics below).
The ideal number of players for this game is 4-6 , but you can already play with 2 players up to a maximum of 10-12 . One of the players get the function of the dealer, which is not fixed, but changes during the game. In turn, the dealer plays one at a time with the other players.
The maximum score to be reached just is “7 and a half” and the purpose of the game is precisely to achieve the highest score possible without ever busting, ie without exceeding the value of 7 and 1/2. The dealer must try to match or exceed the score of the challengers, of course without going bust. The dealer collects the amount wagered by the players if they go busting or getting a score lower or equal to his own. Conversely, the dealer pays the equivalent of the bet to players who surpass his score. The rating is calculated by adding the value  of all the cards that each player has got.

GAME’S RULES

• The cards from Ace to 7 are worth as many points as their numeric value. That is, the Ace is worth 1 point, the 2 is worth 2 points … until to get 7  which is worth 7 points.
• The figures  are worth half a point each [in Neapolitan cards they are: 8 (the woman), the 9 (the horse) and 10 (the king)].
• The 10 (the king), if it has the “seed of coins” (golden) assumes the role of “crazy” or “wild card” (it is the “King of Diamonds” in French cards), and it can take the VALUE of any other card to the discretion of the player who receives it.
The game begins with a single card that the dealer gives to each player (to keep covered on the table and only the player can see). Now the player must play trying to achieve a score of 7 and 1/2 (or a value closest to it), asking dealer for other cards, which this time must be shown (uncovered on the table), and whose value has to be added (algebraic number) to the first received card. In this way, no one knows the player’s score. When the value of the received cards reaches half past seven or values close to 7 , the player will not ask for any more cards and will say, “I’m fine“, “I stop“,  or “I see” and let the dealer to play with his (covered) card. 

Examples of seven and a half are:  one “3” + one “4” + one figure, one “5” + one “2” and a figure, one “7” +  one figure, or  the “crazy” and one “7” (the best!). If the “Seven and a half” is reached using only two cards (7 + one figure), even if using the “crazy” card, we talk about the creation of “Real Seven and a half” or a “legitimate” one. In this case it is worth more than any other “7 and 1/2” reached with different cards. The player who achieves this score receives from the dealer a sum equal to double gambled and the player also becomes the next dealer. If more players make SEVEN and HALF in the same hand, everyone will be paid double, and the player who sits closest to the dealer’s right will become the next dealer, unless the dealer also made a “Real 7 1/2”. On the contrary, if the dealer is who reaches a “Real seven and half”, he collects the double gambled from all the players, except those who also made “Real 7 and 1/2” and those who were offside because busted, from which the dealer receives only the gambled sum. If one of the players realized a “Real 7 and 1/2”  having the “crazy” and a figure, the dealer wins only if he got the same. If the dealer makes a  “seven and half” by using more than two cards, it  is “not legitimate”, and he wins even if the players get the same, except towards the “Legitimate 7 and ½ ”.

THE GAME

At the beginning, each player draws a card from the deck and the one who choses the card with the highest value will be the dealer. In the event that two or more players draw a card of the same value, these ones will repeat the draw. At the beginning of the hand the dealer deals one card face down to each player, and the game begins. Starting from the player seated to his right, the dealer will proceed clockwise. In turn, each player then performs the following operations :
• Look at the own card.
• Make a bet by placing the corresponding amount of money near the covered card. Of course, the stake will depend on the card’s value. At this point, the player decides whether to ask for more cards or stop (to stay). The player may request as many cards as he wants and stop at any time. One at a time, all the cards, subsequent to the first, are dealt face up on the table, so the dealer can see them and realize the score that the player possibly has got. If the player “goes bust” he has to show the card face down and give the money to the dealer, who will proceed to play with the next player.
• If a player busts or achieves 7 and Half must immediately point it out and discover the first card received. When someone goes bust, the bet is immediately withdrawn from the bank, then the game proceeds and the turn passes to the next player.
The maximum score achievable is 7 ½ and in the event of a tie between players and the dealer, this one always wins.
• The Dealer will win the wager to all players who have reached a score lower than his and all the players who went bust, otherwise he must pay the equivalent of the amount played by each player who beat his score.
Once all participants have performed their play, it is the turn of the Dealer, who publically discovers his own card and decides whether “to stay” or take other cards. If the dealer busts, he must pay all the sums bet  from the players still in game. When the dealer decides to stay or is Ok with his cards,  each player has to discover the cards and see who has a higher score (winning) or lower (losing) compared with the dealer’s. Obviously, those who have achieved a higher score will receive the payment of the “bet” on the part of the dealer, who, on the other hand, collects the share played by those who have reached a lower value.
At the end of the round, the Dealer will pass his role to the player sitting to his right, unless the players have not decided a priori that the Dealer loses the role only at the end of the cards in the deck.
As said, who has got the “seven and half” also acquire the right to become the new dealer, bypassing the natural rotation between players.
If more than a player got the real Seven and a half during the same hand, they have not pay the double, and the new Dealer becomes the player closest to the Dealer’s right.
If, however, the Real Seven and a half is made by the Dealer, he will collect a double post by each player at the table, as he will maintain the role to the next round.

seeds

Here you can see the four seeds referring to the 12 figures (coins or suns,  clubs, cups, swords) that are equivalent to the French card’s seeds hearts, clubs, diamonds and spades). These figures are worth half a point each. The King of Suns is the most important card because the player can easily make “Seven and a half”.

Carte_napoletane_al_completo%20WikiCommons Here’s the other cards, from ace to seven.

EXAMPLES

seven and a half  sette e mezzoExamples of “Real 7 and 1/2”

sevenAn example how the king of suns can be used to achieve the maximum value possible (7) with the received card (2), assigning the value 5 to the King.

6 and a halfA player who reaches such a score should stop and stay. If you receive a card from 1 to 5, it is almost obligatory groped in asking for more cards, while it is reasonable “to stay” if you receive one 6 or 7, risking to bust.

PUZZLE FACADE

Published December 3, 2013 by Tony

BUILDINGS AS A RUBIK’s CUBE

Ars Electronica Exhibition Centre,

In the city of Linz in Austria, an entire building has been transformed into a giant Rubik’s cube that can even be “played” (although only at twilight).

It is the Ars Electronica Exhibition Centre, and the creator of this ingenious electronic wizardry is the Austrian student Javier Lloret, who used the project to the University for his thesis about interfaces, calling it “Puzzle facade.”

The cube’s faces correspond to different building’s area expressly illuminated with different colors, like the Rubik’s cube. The player interacts with a normal Rubik’s Cube (not colored), specially designed, which, via Bluetooth, sends the data (orientation and rotation of its blocks) to a computer placed in the building. This one runs the Puzzle Facade designed software, that transforms the rotation of the cube’s blocks in different colors, varying in real time the color of the lights placed in the corresponding building’s areas.

Because of its complexity, only two sides of the building are lit and interact with the player’s interface (the cube). However, turning the cube, the player see directly on the building how the other two cube’s sides look like, setting accordingly. This does not preclude the solution of the game, but makes it just a little more complicated.

Thanks to teachers, friends and relatives, Javier was able to work on all aspects of the project: concept, electronics, programming and realization, with the permission of the Ars Electronica Exhibition Centre.

Here for a video:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2516742/Only-brightest-solve-giant-Rubiks-Cube-An-entire-BUILDING-turned-illuminated-version-classic-80s-puzzle.html

Marten Gasparini

Published July 5, 2013 by Tony

Kansas City Royals

Marten Gasparini

He did it, managed to fulfill his dream, baseball, his great passione.
Marten Gasparini is an Italian guy of only 16 years old who was born and living in Udine (Friuli), with an Italian dad and a Jamaican mom who was an athlete when young. Gasparini has long lived in London and speaks both English and Italian. On July 3, he flew to America, where baseball is a real institution, to become part of one of the professional teams of Major League Baseball, after signing a $ 1.3 million contract with the Kansas City Royals.
Marten Gasparini, shortstop, 182 cm high and 80 kilograms of weight, grew up in Italian Sultan Cervignano Tiger Baseball, which thanks to the work of the technical staff led by Tito Ricciarelli, continues to collect important successes. “Marten started with us in 2008, he was 11 years old and among eleven players that became part of the federal project to support Marten Gaspariniand stimulate the technical development of young talent in the national baseball” – says the president Ricciarelli. The company Friuli boasts seven athletes gone in the National squad.
Gasparini he joined the Italian baseball, which is located in Tirrenia, in May 2011, when he was 14, and  immediately noticed by the director Bill Holmberg, sure that thanks to his talent would have gone a long way. In 2012 he participated in the Under-15 World Cup in Chihuahua, Mexico, and in the under-18 World Cup in Seoul, South Korea, where he was noticed by Instructional talent scouts. Gasparini played with the Royals at the end of September, for a league preparatory reserved for younger players.
Everyone wanted him. Despite his young age, Marten is considered one of the world’s top prospects in baseball. In addition to the Kansas City Royals, there were other exceptional suitors as the LA Dodgers, Chicago Cubs and Mariners.
Many experts say that Gasparini is the best European promise they’ve ever seen, while the official site of Major League considers him to fourth place of international promises. The contract with the Royals is the highest ever signed by a major league team with a European player: the previous record was with the German Max Kepler, who in 2009 had signed with the Minnesota Twins for $ 800,000.
What can I say, congratulations Marten!

Marten Gasparini

EDISON CAVANI CRISIS

Published March 18, 2013 by Tony

THE MATADOR’S BAD TIME

Cavani and wife in Naples

There would be a marital crisis behind the last poor performance of Edinson Cavani, player of Napoli football team.

The news, revived by SkySport24, is making the rounds on all the Gossip websites.
The Uruguayan had not scored for eight games and had recently explained that he missed his family, which is in Uruguay, where his second son Lucas lately was born. But according to some gossip, the reason for the crisis would be another.
The Napoli striker would indeed be in crisis with his wife, who meantime would have even filed for divorce.

At the base of the break, a young Neapolitan girl, for which the Matador would have “lost his head” for quite some time now. It is said that Cavani in recent times is assiduously dating a twenty-two Neapolitan student, the daughter of a restaurateur, just known in the room where the player often goes to eat pizza.
The two were pinched in romantic outputs and their love story would also have been discovered by his wife, Maria Soledad, when she was in Naples, before giving birth to the second child. For this reason, she would have gone away. Back in Uruguay, and after giving birth, she would be looking for a lawyer willing to divorce.
According to some, this would be the explanation of Edinson’s bad time, who fortunately, during yesterday’s match Napoli-Atalanta, has finally “broken the ice” and returned to score.

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DIEGO MARADONA IN NAPLES

Published February 26, 2013 by Tony

EL PIBE returns in Naples

Yesterday Diego Maradona made his return to Italy to resolve problems with the Italian Revenue, and after landed in Rome with his lawyer, then he made a stop in Naples, the city that is in his heart and that long wanted to see again, after eight years of absence. “I want to meet the President of the Republic Giorgio Napolitano” he said. A cheering crowd of fans, young and old, has received him on his arrival, while by car he wanted to go to the stadium then passing for the waterfront. The fans and the boys who followed him on motorbikes started singing “Maradona è meglio ‘e Pelè,” the song “O sole mio,” and the historic song dedicated to him, “O mamma mamma mamma….” .
Another crowd of Neapolitans along with journalists and cameramen were waiting for him when at 16.40 has arrived at the Hotel Royal, hotel which has hosted him free of charge in the presidential suite (to prevent further requisition of goods, he came here without values or money).
A piece of Napoli’s football history that gave us so many emotions. “How I missed Neapolitans,” Maradona confided to who is with him as he prepares for a press conference scheduled for tomorrow. In the hotel he met the Neapolitan actor and comedian Alessandro Siani, and then went to dine in the restaurant of his friend Bruscolotti (former captain of Napoli team) with Carmando, his historical masseur). In the evening in his room, El Pibe  followed the match Udinese-Napoli. “I’m happy to be back here,” he said. “I saw the game and Napoli had to win, deserved it.”
Maradona will probably attend to the highly anticipated match Napoli-Juventus, and now it only remains to see whether here in the city something in his honor will be organized.
Diego Armando Maradona has released this statement to “Napoli Magazine“:  “I have never been a tax evader, if you must blame someone, do it with those who have signed the contract on that time, I had nothing to do with that. Thank also to Neapolitans whose affection and love towards me has not changed… Naples has a memory, the memory that maybe someone wants to distort with things that do not exist. I only come to ask justice and let me walk for Italy because I have not killed anyone. There are so many beautiful memories of Naples, we could be here for hours. I couldn’t come, I represented this city and went away crying ….

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Diego Armando Maradona

Published February 6, 2013 by Tony

THE CASE MARADONA

Diego Armando Maradona’s debt for unpaid tax increases again. The Provincial Tax Commission of Naples, rejected as unacceptable an appeal by the football player, also condemned to pay the expenses of the delayed payment for a total of € 2000. The judgment has been filed on January 10 last year. Maradona’s lawyers had filed an appeal to challenge the “silent rejection” by which the tax authorities had accepted the request to cancel the folders former Napoli striker Football relating to non-payment of taxes in six different years, from1985 to 1990. In particular, it was alleged failure to notify the folders, the time-limits for the requirements and the invalidity of the notice of default.
Angelo Pisani, Maradona lawyer in dispute with the Italian tax authorities, says: “Who lost the appeal was not Maradona but the Inland Revenue. The judgment was filed on February 1 was written on purpose to make it look like we had lost. The truth is that the appeal of the Revenue was rejected and confirmed the judgment of the tax courts of ’94 who claimed that the tax assessments, against Naples football society and its player at the center of the dispute, were invalid. In short, Maradona was acquitted in the tax even if the investigation went on for the recovery of sums alleged by the Italian public company in charge of the collection of national taxes.”

The player can not visit Italy, but for years now he wants to return, back to Naples, where hundreds of fans are waiting for him with open arms, and most recently, in an interview, he also released a video addressing Napolitano, the President of the Italian Republic.
I ask to Italian politicians to see clearly what is behind all this. I did not steal anything, there is no evidence to prosecute me. If I’ve been wrong, it was for other things”.


But for those who do not know him, let’s see what and who Maradona is.

Today Diego Armando Maradona is an Argentine football coach but, once was a famous football player nicknamed “El Pibe de Oro”. Many experts, football critics, players, and football fans in general consider Maradona the greatest football player of all time. He is the only footballer to set world-record contract fees twice, firstly when transferring to Barcelona for a then world record £5m, and secondly, when transferred to Napoli for another record fee £6.9m. During his professional club career Maradona played for Argentinos Juniors, Boca Juniors, Barcelona, Napoli, Sevilla and Newell’s Old Boys, but at club level, he is most famous for his career in Napoli football team.
Maradona is considered one of the sport’s most controversial and newsworthy figures. He was suspended from football for 15 months in 1991 after failing a drug test, for cocaine, in Italy, and his outspoken manners have sometimes put him at odds with journalists and sport executives.
At Napoli, Maradona reached the peak of his professional career (from 1984 to 1991). He quickly became an adored star among the club’s fans, and in his time there he elevated the team to the most successful era in its history. Led by Maradona, Napoli won their only Serie A Italian Championships in 1986/87 and 1989/1990, placing second in the league twice, in 1987/88 and 1988/89. Other honors during the Maradona era at Napoli included the Coppa Italia in 1987, (second place in the Coppa Italia in 1989), the UEFA Cup in 1989 and the Italian Supercup in 1990. Maradona was the top scorer in Serie A in 1987/88.
During his time in Italy, Maradona’s personal problems increased. His cocaine use continued, and he received US $70,000 in fines from his club for missing games and practices, ostensibly because of ‘stress’. He faced a scandal there regarding some illegitimate sons; and he was also the object of some suspicion over an alleged friendship with the Camorra.
Later on, in honor of Maradona and his achievements during his career at Napoli, the #10 jersey of Napoli was officially retired. Maradona was dominantly left-footed, often using his left foot even when the ball was positioned more suitably for a right-footed connection. One of Maradona’s trademark moves was dribbling full-speed on the right wing, and on reaching the opponent’s goal line, delivering accurate passes to his teammates. Another trademark was the Rabona, a reverse-cross pass shot behind the leg that holds all the weight.
In 1999, he won FIFA Player of the Century award which was to be decided by votes on their official website, their official magazine and a grand jury. Maradona won the Internet based poll by wide margins, garnering 53.6% of the votes against 18.53% for Pelé.

In Argentina and Naples, the champion is indicated as a symbol and hero of the sport because of its humble origins and its original low social status: in spite of the multiple gains did not lose the ways of expressing and the vocabulary specific to the fringe of the less well-off population. To this was added his stand against the “strong-powers”, especially with the Neapolitans who saw him as a representative of “oppressed” in Southern Italy that fought against the “dominance” of the rich teams in the North. It was for this reason, not only for his achievements in the fields of football Maradona was practically worshiped by both Argentinians and Neapolitans.

Over the years, Maradona has been involved in various legal proceedings, partly resolved out of court. Those that have had more prominence are definitely related to different paternity, but several were those for drugs, assault and economic issues.

“I want to become the idol of the poor children of Naples, because they are like I was in Buenos Aires”.
(Maradona said on 5 luglio1984 at the official presentation at the San Paolo stadium in Naples)

Religious display of Maradona in Naples

In 2000, the Napoli football team decided that never again a player would wear a shirt with the number 10 belonged to Maradona. But in 2004, due to the regulation on the number of T-shirts, the team, however, was forced to reprint the shirt with that number.
When Maradona had left the city of Naples, emerged other economic problems with the Italian tax authorities, who accused him of evading taxes during the last two years of stay in Naples. It is said that the leaders of Naples football team did signed players two contracts, one for players and one for image rights, and this procedure was seen by Italian Finance Police as tax evasion. Having regard to the Italian law that provides for the increase in arrears with the passing of the years, a judgment of the Supreme Court in February 2005 condemned the player to pay 31 million euro. In May 2008, reached the figure of € 34 million due to the accumulated interest. In March 2009 Italian officials announced that Maradona still owed the Italian government €37 million in taxes; €23.5 million of which was accrued interest on his original debt. In this regard, the Italian Finance Police seized his fee of € 3 million received in 2005 for taking part in an Italian TV program, also in 2006, at a charity event in Naples,were seized two Rolex watches gold worth 10,000 euro. In September 2009, during his last stay in Italy, were further seized two diamond earrings valued at € 4,000.

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